This will increase American economic competitiveness and help the United States regain leadership in the global market for solar photovoltaics. As part of the SunShot initiative, Secretary Chu announced today that the Department of Energy is awarding $27 million in projects to support the development, commercialization, and manufacturing of advanced solar energy technologies.
"America is in a world race to produce cost-effective, quality photovoltaics. The SunShot initiative will spur American innovations to reduce the costs of solar energy and re-establish U.S. global leadership in this growing industry," said Secretary Chu. "These efforts will boost our economic competitiveness, rebuild our manufacturing industry and help reach the President’s goal of doubling our clean energy in the next 25 years."
The SunShot program builds on the legacy of President Kennedy’s 1960s "moon shot" goal, which laid out a plan to regain the country’s lead in the space race and land a man on the moon. The program will aggressively drive innovations in the ways that solar systems are conceived, designed, manufactured and installed.
In addition to investing in improvements in cell technologies and manufacturing, the SunShot initiative will also focus on steps to streamline and digitize local permitting processes that will reduce installation and permitting costs. To achieve the SunShot goal of reducing the total installed cost of large scale solar electricity by about 75 percent, DOE will be working closely with partners in government, industry, research laboratories and academic institutions across the country.
SunShot will work to bring down the full cost of solar—including the costs of the solar cells and installation—by focusing on four main pillars:
* Technologies for solar cells and arrays that convert sunlight to energy
* Electronics that optimize the performance of the installation
* Improvements in the efficiency of solar manufacturing processes
* Installation, design and permitting for solar energy systems.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) SunShot Initiative, working in collaboration with the solar industry, will dramatically decrease the cost of electricity from solar energy. The goal is to achieve price parity between solar electricity and fossil-based electricity by the end of the decade, without additional subsidies. Reaching this goal will re-establish American technological leadership, improve the nation’s energy security, and strengthen U.S. economic competitiveness in the global clean energy race.
The SunShot Initiative builds on the legacy of President Kennedy’s 1960s "moon shot" goal, which laid out a plan to regain the country’s lead in the space race and land a man on the moon. Similarly, the SunShot goal aims to restore America’s once-dominant position in the global market for solar photovoltaics (PV), which has dwindled from 43 percent in 1995 to only six percent today.
To achieve the SunShot goal of reducing the total installed cost of solar electricity by about 75 percent, DOE will be working closely with partners in government, industry, research laboratories and academic institutions across the country. DOE estimates that if the installed costs for solar energy systems drop to $1 per watt — equivalent to a levelized cost of electricity of 5-6 cents per kilowatt hour — solar without subsidies would be competitive with the wholesale rate of electricity nearly everywhere in the U.S. These reductions in cost will lead to a dramatic increase in the market demand for solar energy technologies, enabling new domestic manufacturing.
The SunShot initiative will continue to accelerate and advance the Department’s existing research efforts by refocusing the Department’s solar energy programs — valued at approximately $200 million per year — to support a targeted roadmap to meet the SunShot goal by the end of the decade. The program will emphasize collaboration between DOE offices, including: the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, which focuses on deployment and applied research and development; the Office of Science, which advances early-stage scientific discoveries; and the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), which is investing in a range of transformative energy technologies and has related ongoing work on power electronics.
Historically, solar investments have focused on achieving incremental efficiency improvements to solar cells and arrays. SunShot takes a different approach. In addition to investing in improvements in cell technologies and manufacturing, the SunShot initiative will also focus on steps to reduce installation and permitting costs, which are significant contributors to the total installed system price of solar electricity. This includes efforts to streamline and digitize local permitting processes and to develop codes and standards that ensure high-performance over the approximately 20 year lifetime of residential solar products.